I 29.9/2:ES 1
OF THE ESCALANTE
Information and Hiking Guide
Everett Ruess linocuts taken from
Everett Ruess: A Vagabond for Beauty
by W. L. Rusho, published by Gibbs-Smith.
Used by permission.
These days away from the city have been the happiest of my
life... It has all been a beautiful dream, sometimes tranquil,
sometimes fantastic, and with enough pain and tragedy to
make the delights possible by contrast.
From a letter to his friend Bill,
soon after beginning his journey.
The Escalante Canyons Include some of the most remote, wild,
and beautiful country in the Southwest. The Escalante, the
last river in the continental United States to be named,
meanders slowly between towering canyon walls. Its
tributaries, also deeply entrenched in sandstone, contain
arches, natural bridges, and waterfalls. The area is reminiscent
of Glen Canyon before Lake Powell and offers some of the
finest opportunities for desert hiking on the Colorado Plateau.
ADMTNTSTRATTON AND INFORMATION
Public lands in the Escalante area are administered by the
National Park Service (Glen Canyon National Recreation Area),
the Bureau of Land Management (Escalante Resource Area),
and the U.S. Forest Service (Dixie National Forest).
Information about the Escalante area may be obtained from the
Escalante Interagency Visitor Information Center,
PO Box 511, Escalante, UT 84726 (435)826-5499
National Park Service, Glen Canyon NRA, PO Box 51 1,
Escalante, UT 84726 (435)826-4315
Bureau of Land Management, Escalante Resource Area,
PO Box 225, Escalante, UT 84726 (435)826-4291
U.S. Forest Service, Dixie National Forest, PO Box 246,
Escalante, UT 84726 (435)826-5400
National Park Service: Escalante Ranger Station
24 Hour Dispatch
Bureau of Land Management: Escalante Office
U.S.Forest Service: Escalante Ranger District
Garfield County Sheriff: (435)676-241 1
From within Garfield County: 91 1
BEFORE YOU GO
Please obtain a free Backcountry Use Permit from the
Interagency Visitor Center in Escalante or at established
trailheads. These permits help provide important statistical
information which assists resource monitoring and
management. Route itinery information can help personnel
locate hikers should an emergency occur or a search effort for
overdue hikers be necessary.
Permits for commercial trips are required, and a fee is charged.
Organized groups such as hiking clubs, Boy Scouts, and
school groups also need permits. Contact the Interagency
Visitor Center or appropriate agency for a determination as to
the type of permit required.
The waterproof Trails Illustrated map, USGS topographic maps,
the Escalante Resource Area Recreation Map, and other
publications are available for sale at the Escalante Interagency
Topographic maps may also be ordered from the USGS, Public
Inquiries Office, 1 25 South State Street, Salt Lake City, UT
Utah road maps and multipurpose maps may be obtained from
the Utah Travel Council, Council Hall, Salt Lake City, UT
WAJ F R
Water availability varies from hike to hike. An abundance of
springs may be available on some hikes; other hikes may have
no water at all. Always filter or boil all water since Giardia or
other pathogens may be present.
The best months for hiking the canyons are March through
mid-June and September and October. Springtime weather
may vary from warm days and cool nights to rainy and even
snowy conditions. Summer months bring very hot
temperatures while autumn usually promises pleasant hiking
weather. Winter temperatures may dip well below freezing.
Thunderstorm season is from mid-July through September and
is the period when flash flood danger is greatest. Flash floods
may occur anytime, however, so keep an eye on the sky -
especially before entering a narrow canyon. Camp above the
flood plain each night to avoid an unpleasant "midnight
surprise." Remember that storms several miles away may
cause flash floods where you are, even though the skies may
be clear above you.
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The Escalante River flows through exquisite desert canyons
before emptying into Lake Powell, eighty miles from its source.
The river's potential for running is limited, however.
Generally, only peak runoff flows are deep enough to be
floated. While high water periods may vary, peak runoff
usually lasts for about two weeks. Runoffs may occur anytime
from early April through May.
For more information about floating the Escalante River,
contact the Interagency Visitor Information Center and request
a copy of the handout "Floating the Escalante River."
The Increasing popularity of
wildland recreation has led to
unprecedented demands on our
backcountry, resulting in greater
impact on the resources we all
love and enjoy.
Many areas have been "loved to
death." The desert is not
indestructible rock and sand; it
is a fragile ecosystem, and scars
take years to heal. Proper low-
impact hiking and camping are
required to preserve this pristine
desert country. By being
courteous and thoughtful, we
can leave the area as we would
like it left for us. There are
certain requirements for Glen Canyon NRA. Please review and
practice the following minimum-impact regulations and
GROUP SIZE: Large groups cause more impact to trails and
campsites than do small groups. Large groups concentrate
human waste. Large groups are more intrusive and diminish
the wilderness experience for others. For these reasons, the
recommended group size limit is eight persons. The maximum
number of people allowed in the Escalante backcountry is
twelve. Pack and saddle stock are limited to twelve animals.
BACKCOUNTRY TRAVEL: When hiking, walk on slickrock or
sand whenever possible. Stay on established trails and avoid
creating new ones. Never cut switchbacks. Cryptobiotic soils
(the dark crust of lichens, fungi, algae, and moss which binds
desert soils) is easily damaged when walked upon and may
take years to regenerate. In canyons, walk in or along streams
so that high water will erase your footprints. Following these
practices will prevent erosion and soil damage.
CAMPSITE SELECTION: When possible, choose an existing
campsite with no vegetation or organic soil. Sandy or
slickrock benches make the best sites. All campsites should
be at least 100 feet, preferably 200 feet, from water sources
to prevent contamination. Do not make "improvements" such
as digging trenches or building rock structures. Avoid
trampling vegetation around the perimeter of your camp.
When leaving your campsite, rehabilitate the area by scattering
dead leaves or twigs. Make sure that nothing has been left
CAMPFIRES: Fire rings, charcoal, soot stains on rocks, and
garbage in fire pits all leave unsightly scars. Charcoal from
modern fires may contaminate archaeological evidence, making
it impossible to date ancient campfire remains. For these
reasons, fires are not allowed within Glen Canyon NRA in the
Escalante district and are discouraged on BLM lands.
SANITATION: The dry desert climate often preserves waste
before it can decompose, so extra diligence is required. For
human waste, dig a "cat hole" six to eight inches deep and at
least 100 feet from water sources. Carry out toilet paper in a
plastic bag. Washing should be done at least 100 feet from
water sources. Use only biodegradable soaps, and pour wash
water on the ground away from springs and streams. Carry
out all trash and garbage.
PETS AND LIVESTOCK: Dogs threaten wildlife and may
prevent hikers from seeing any animals. Dogs foul campsites,
trails, and streams, so their excrement must be disposed of in
the same manner as human waste. Dogs may get into trouble
in this rugged country. For their own safety, to prevent
intrusions on others, and for your convenience, pets are best
left at home. If you do bring a pet, it must be kept on a leash
within Glen Canyon NRA.
CAMPING GEAR: Brightly-colored packs and tents shrink the
wilderness by being so noticeable. Use drab-colored gear and
camp where your tent will not be easily seen.
HIKES IN THE ESCALANTE
ROADS AND TRATI HFADS
Utah Highway 12 is the major route to the Escalante area, with
side roads leading to established trailheads or starting points.
The historic Hole-in-the-Rock road begins five miles east of the
town of Escalante and continues south 57 miles to the Hole-in-
the-Rock historic site where Mormon pioneers built a road
down to the Colorado River. Trailheads can be reached by
taking the Harris Wash, Egypt, Early Weed Bench, Red Well,
Hurricane Wash, or Fortymile Ridge roads (all signed at their
intersections with the Hole-in-the-Rock road).
The Burr Trail begins at Boulder, Utah, and continues 66 miles
to Highway 276 near Bullfrog. Trailheads for Deer Creek and
The Gulch are along this road.
The Wolverine road leads south from the Burr Trail 19 miles
east of Boulder, and the Moody Creek road leads south from
the Burr Trail just west of Capitol Reef National Park. There
are no established trailheads along these roads, but they
provide access to the Wolverine Pertrified Wood Natural Area,
Horse Canyon, Silver Falls Creek, Moody Creek, and others.
The Hell's Backbone road leads north around the upper reaches
of Death Hollow and Sand Creek and connects to Highway 12
at the town of Escalante and again three miles west of
Boulder. Trailheads for The Box and Death Hollow are along
Only Highway 12 and the Burr Trail (for most of its length) are
paved. Travel conditions on the other roads may vary,
depending on the season and recent weather, so check at the
Interagency Visitor Information Center for current conditions.
The canyons of the Escalante River offer many fascinating
trips. The Escalante is rugged country with no formal trail
system. Hikers should be experienced in the use of map and
compass and thoroughly familiar with the techniques of canyon
and slickrock hiking. Maps and other information are available
at the Interagency Visitor Information Center in the town of
Escalante. Always consult with a ranger at the Information
Center for route information, trail and weather conditions, and
other necessary information needed for a safe trip.
The following are just a few of the many hikes available in the
Escalante wilderness. Happy trails!
MAPS: USGS Silver Falls Bench and Red Breaks 7.5 minute
TRAILHEAD: Follow the Hole-in-the-Rock road south from
Highway 12 about 10.5 miles to the signed junction, then 6.5
miles on a fair road to the signed trailhead and hiker
HIKING DISTANCE: From Harris Wash trailhead to the
Escalante River - 10 miles (one way).
WATER AVAILABILITY: A perennial stream flows in Harris
Wash. Generally, seeps and springs are of insufficient flow to
provide usable quantities of water.
HIKING CONDITIONS: Harris Wash is an easy hike with no
technical difficulties. The stream must be continually crossed
or waded. Wear appropriate shoes.
GENERAL INFORMATION: Harris Wash offers an excellent
opportunity to see a streamcourse develop from a broad,
sandy wash to a deeply-entrenched canyon. A minimum of
two days should be spent exploring Harris Wash. Begin the
hike from the trailhead by walking downstream in the wash
bottom. Do not cross the wash and continue on the road, for
it leads only to an abandoned drill pad.
About 3.5 miles downstream, the creek passes through a
narrow notch. To the north of the notch is an abandoned
stream meander, known as a rincon, which was created when
the stream cut through and straightened its course. To the
south is a brushy side canyon which comes to a pouroff about
one-third of a mile up.
Harris Wash continues its winding course 7 miles to the
Escalante River. Two more side canyons enter the wash from
the south, and, though brushy, can provide interesting
exploring opportunities. As the canyon nears the Escalante
River, high cliff walls soar, streaked with magnificent patterns
of desert varnish. The lower three miles of Harris Wash exhibit
the scale and grandeur typical of the canyons of the Escalante.
Once you reach the Escalante River, you can continue
upstream about one-third mile to the stark, dry, extremely
beautiful Silver Falls Creek, which enters from the east. You
may wish to spend a day exploring this extraordinary canyon
which derived its name from the great streaks of desert varnish
which drape the canyon's walls. Silver Falls Creek is generally
dry, so carry all the water you may need.
TWFIMTYFTVF MTI F WASH
MAPS: USGS Sunset Flat and Egypt 7.5 minute quadrangles.
TRAILHEADS: 1. Twentyfive Mile Wash - Follow Hole-in-the-
Rock road 16 miles to the signed Egypt road junction, then
drive 3 miles on a good road to the signed parking area. There
is no hiker registration box at this trailhead.
2. Egypt - Many visitors make a loop hike from Egypt trailhead
to Fence Canyon, the Escalante River, Twentyfive Mile Wash,
and back to Egypt trailhead. To reach Egypt trailhead, follow
the Hole-in-the-Rock road 16 miles to the Egypt road junction
and then 10 miles to the trailhead.
3. Early Weed Bench - Follow the Hole-in-the-Rock road 23
miles to the signed Early Weed Bench road, then drive 6 miles
on a fair to poor road to the signed trailhead. Access to
Twentyfive Mile Wash is by way of a tributary named Fox
HIKING DISTANCES: From Twentyfive Mile Wash trailhead to
the Escalante River - 14.2 miles (one way); Egypt trailhead to
the mouth of Twentyfive Mile Wash via the Escalante River -
8.7 miles (one way); Early Weed Bench trailhead to the
Escalante River via Fox Canyon - 7 miles (one way). At least
two to three days should be spent exploring the wash.
WATER AVAILABILITY: Twentyfive Mile Wash contains a
perennial stream (beginning 4-5 miles from the trailhead), but
there are no usable seeps or springs. A stream with numerous
pools flows in Fence Canyon. Fox Canyon provides a good
water supply. Water from any pool or spring should be boiled
or treated before drinking.
HIKING CONDITIONS: Twentyfive Mile Wash presents an easy
hike with no technical difficulties. Wading shoes are needed
for walking in the stream. The streambed tends to contain a
considerable amount of clay, so the wash presents a
somewhat "muckier" hike than other canyons, especially after
high stream flows.
GENERAL INFORMATION: The hike from the Twentyfive Mile
Wash trailhead begins by hiking down the dry wash and simply
following the streambed.
The loop hike from Egypt trailhead entails descending an old
stock trail down a fairly steep slickrock slope before
descending into Fence Canyon and on to the Escalante River.
The hike then continues 5.5 miles downriver to the mouth of
Twentyfive Mile Wash where the route proceeds upstream to
one of several possible exits from the canyon back to Egypt
trailhead. Hikers interested in this loop hike may contact a
ranger at the Interagency Visitor Information Center for more
detailed route information and a free route guide.
The route from Early Weed Bench into Fox Canyon begins by
heading in a northerly direction and descending off the bench.
This route takes the hiker down over slickrock to a small
tributary of Fox Canyon. (This will actually be the second
tributary encountered. The first is easily crossed.) This
second drainage can be crossed in only a few places, most of
which are toward the upper end of the drainage. Once you
have crossed the second drainage, follow the tributary toward
Fox Canyon to the east, to a point between this tributary and
the next short drainage into Fox Canyon downstream. This
point provides the access route down into Fox Canyon and is
composed of several short, steep slickrock pitches onto a silt
bench. Please look for the well-used route off the upstream
end of this bench and avoid contributing to erosion by creating
a new path. It is now possible to follow Fox Canyon, which is
fairly brushy, downstream to Twentyfive Mile Wash.
MAP: USGS Egypt 7.5 minute quadrangle.
TRAILHEAD: Follow the Hole-in-the-Rock road south from
Highway 12 about 16 miles to the signed Egypt road junction,
then drive 10 miles on a fair road to the signed trailhead and
hiker registration box.
HIKING DISTANCE: From Egypt trailhead to the Escalante
River - 2.75 miles (one way).
WATER AVAILABILITY: A stream with numerous pools flows
in Fence Canyon.
HIKING CONDITIONS: Hiking from Egypt trailhead to the river
results in an elevation loss in excess of 1,000 feet. A steep
slickrock slope is encountered initially; at other places, sandy
areas must be traversed; the canyon bottom is quite brushy.
Wading shoes are optional unless you are planning to hike up
or down the Escalante River.
GENERAL INFORMATION: A beautiful panorama awaits you
from the Egypt trailhead at the edge of Allen Dump Bench.
You can see views of the Escalante country, the Henry
Mountains, and Fence Canyon as it leads toward the Escalante
River. Fence Canyon is primarily used as a route to the
Escalante River and other canyons up- or downstream, but
Fence Canyon itself presents an interesting day hike.
The hike begins at the edge of Allen Dump Bench and winds
down to a steep slickrock slope. Near the top of the bench is
a fairly obvious and well-used path switchbacking down to the
slickrock. Please use the path and avoid shortcutting the
switchbacks or creating new paths. A stock trail utilizing steps
cut into the rock leads down the slickrock, but the trail is not
always easy to find. It is possible to walk down the slickrock
without using the trail, however.
Both Fence Canyon and its unnamed northern branch have
impassable pouroffs at their upper ends. To descend into
Fence Canyon, it is necessary, therefore, to skirt its northern
rim and head toward the point at the confluence of the two
canyons. The route follows an old stock trail which descends
into the south branch of Fence Canyon near the point. Both
branches of Fence Canyon present a beautiful and interesting
MAPS: USGS Egypt and Scorpion Gulch 7.5 minute
TRAILHEAD: Follow the Hole-in-the-Rock road south from
Highway 12 about 23 miles to the Early Weed Bench turnoff at
Cat Pasture, then drive 6 miles on a fair to poor road to the
end of the road at an old drill site. The hiker registration box
is located about a half mile before the end of the road.
HIKING DISTANCE: From Early Weed Bench trailhead to the
head of Scorpion Gulch - 5.5 miles (one way). From the head
of Scorpion Gulch to the Escalante River - 3.3 miles (one way)
WATER AVAILABILITY: Water won't normally be found
between the trailhead and the midpoint of Scorpion Gulch
except after heavy rains. A few seeps and pools can be found
in the lower half of Scorpion Gulch, and a small stream
normally flows in the lower end.
HIKING CONDITIONS: This is a rather challenging hike
requiring cross-country route-finding skills. There is a lengthy
hike over slickrock and sand, a descent down a sand dune, and
walking through soft sand and alluvial deposits. The lower half
of Scorpion Gulch is an easier walk beside a small stream with
no difficulties other than two boulder jams and a small pouroff,
requiring some minor scrambling.
GENERAL INFORMATION: From the end of the road at the
abandoned drill site, follow the remains of an old jeep trail
about 1 .5 miles until it turns to the south. At that point,
continue east across a sandy, flat area. If you are near the
preferred route, you will see a small arch to the south.
About a mile after leaving the jeep trail, you will descend from
a small plateau down onto Scorpion Flat. The flat is comprised
entirely of rolling slickrock with intermittent patches of sand.
Before descending onto the flat, it is wise to locate Scorpion
Gulch from a high point and take a compass bearing on the
upper end of it. After making the descent, you will not see
Scorpion Gulch again until you reach it. The approximate
direction is east-southeast.
Access into Scorpion Gulch is by way of a sand dune on the
north side of the canyon about % mile downstream from the
pouroff at the upper end. About three-fourths of a mile
downstream is another sand dune which completely blocks the
canyon. The downstream side of this dune is steep and easy
to descend, but it is quite a struggle to get back up!
COYOTF GUI CH - HURRTCANF WASH
MAPS: USGS King Mesa and Stevens Canyon South 7.5
TRAILHEADS: 1 . Red Well - Follow the Hole-in-the-Rock road
30 miles to the signed junction, then drive 1 .5 miles to the
trailhead and hiker registration box. This trailhead provides
access to upper Coyote Gulch.
2. Hurricane Wash - Follow the Hole-in-the-Rock road 33 miles
to the parking area beside the road. The hiker registration box
is located 0.2 mile down the wash.
3. Fortymile Ridge - Follow Hole-in-the-Rock road 35 miles to
the signed junction, then drive 7 miles to the trailhead. The
last two miles of this road is through deep sand and is not
suitable for low-clearance vehicles.
HIKING DISTANCES: From Red Well trailhead to the Escalante
River - 13 miles (one way); Hurricane Wash trailhead to the
Escalante River - 12.3 miles (one way); Fortymile Ridge to
Crack-in-the-Wall (access to lower Coyote Gulch or the
Escalante River) - 2 miles (one way).
WATER AVAILABILITY: Coyote Gulch contains a number of
seeps and springs in addition to a perennial stream. One
particularly good spring flows from the canyon wall just
downstream from Jacob Hamblin Arch.
HIKING CONDITIONS: The perennial stream in Coyote Gulch
begins about one mile from the Red Well trailhead. The stream
in Hurricane Wash begins about 3.5 miles from the trailhead.
Wading shoes are a must.
The hike through Coyote Gulch is relatively easy, with two
minor exceptions - a climb down a ledge near a waterfall and a
steep descent down sandstone followed by a rather difficult
climb down a second ledge. (Both of these are described in
GENERAL INFORMATION: Coyote Gulch contains two arches,
a natural bridge, and several waterfalls. It is easy to
understand why this beautiful canyon is by far the most
popular hiking destination of all the canyons of the Escalante.
When hiking in Coyote Gulch in spring or fall, plan on
encountering a number of other visitors.
A minimum of three days will be required to explore the length
of Coyote Gulch. From Red Well or Hurricane trailhead, the
canyon develops from wide, sandy washes to a narrow canyon
with towering walls. Follow the wash downstream from either
trailhead. Hurricane Wash joins Coyote Gulch about 5 miles
from the Hurricane Wash trailhead.
The hike through the lush riparian zone of Coyote Gulch is
relatively easy - except for those two exceptions. At the
second waterfall below Cliff Arch, follow the ledge along the
south wall to a place about 100 feet downstream where it is
possible to scramble down off the ledges.
About 0.4 mile up Coyote Gulch from the Escalante River is an
impenetrable boulder jam. To bypass this obstacle, follow the
trail on the right-hand side of the stream across the lower
portion of a sand slide and then traverse the fairly steep
slickrock slope. (Stay low and near the edge.) The slickrock
slope ends at a ledge about 5.5 feet high against which lean
several small logs to assist hikers in climbing back up.
You can enjoy an outstanding view from the canyon rim by
hiking from Fortymile Ridge to Crack-in-the-Wall. After
scrambling down through the crack - a narrow route between
the cliff face and huge rock slabs which have peeled off the
cliff - a trail leads down a steep sand dune to lower Coyote
Gulch. It is great to hike down the dune, but it is definitely
strenuous hiking back up! The elevation difference is about
FTFTYMTI F CRFFK
MAPS: Sooner Bench and Davis Gulch 7.5 minute
TRAILHEADS: 1 . Cave Point - This aptly-named projection
from Fiftymile Bench is the landmark for this unsigned access
route. Follow Hole-in-the-Rock road approximately 47.5 miles.
Here, the road dips into a small draw, recognizable by a
lightly-defined road heading west toward Cave Point. Park at
this draw and walk east down the draw, a tributary which joins
Fiftymile Creek 2.1 miles downstream.
2. The Soda - Follow Hole-in-the-Rock road approximately
49.3 miles to a sign which identifies a spring near the road.
Back up a short distance and park in the parking area above
the cattle watering tank. Walk past the tank and down the
draw, another tributary which joins Fiftymile Creek 1.75 miles
HIKING DISTANCES: From Cave Point trailhead to Lake Powell
- 5.2 miles (one way); The Soda trailhead to Lake Powell - 5.5
miles (one way).
WATER AVAILABILITY: A small stream begins about 2.5 - 3
miles downstream from the trailheads in Fiftymile Creek.
There are no usable seeps or springs.
HIKING CONDITIONS: There are no technical difficulties on
this hike. A short section of narrows about Vi mile upstream
from Lake Powell requires wading, so wading shoes are
GENERAL INFORMATION: Hikers starting from the Cave
Point trailhead will encounter a pouroff about mile down the
channel from the road. This obstacle is easily circumvented by
backtracking a short distance and exiting the stream channel
on the north side. Parallel the channel and drop back down to
the streambed once you are past the pouroff. Other than this
one pouroff, there are no other obstacles on either route.
About mile beyond the confluence of the two major
tributaries, the small stream of water appears. A short
distance farther is an alcove-type arch on the north rim high
above the streambed.
Entering from the north about 2.25 miles from the confluence
of the two tributaries is a side canyon well worth exploring.
This short tributary progressively narrows to a point where
some interesting chimneying (a rock climbing technique)
possibilities are available to those who are so inclined. If you
have a Davis Gulch quadrangle, notice how this side canyon
lies along a northwest-southeast joint which has created similar
side canyons in Willow Gulch to the north and Davis Gulch and
Clear Creek to the south.
Downstream from this tributary is the short narrows section
where wading will be required. You can continue down the
canyon for some distance beyond the narrows, depending on
the current level of Lake Powell.
DAVTS GUI CH
MAP: USGS Davis Gulch 7.5 minute quadrangle.
TRAILHEAD: Follow the Hole-in-the-Rock road approximately
50.5 miles to the crossing of upper Fiftymile Creek. Continue
about one-tenth of a mile beyond the crossing to an unmarked
flat area on the south side of the road. From this point, the
unmarked cross-country route heads north-northeast,
paralleling Fiftymile Creek for about Vi mile, then northeast to
an old stock trail which descends into lower Davis Gulch.
HIKING DISTANCE: From the trailhead to the stock trail - 3.5
to 4 miles (one way); stock trail to Lake Powell - 14 + mile (one
way); Lake Powell to pouroff in upper Davis Gulch - 3.5 miles
WATER AVAILABILITY: A small stream begins just upstream
from Bement Arch. There are no usable seeps or springs.
Pocket water and plunge pools are seasonal.
HIKING CONDITIONS: The approach route to the stock trail is
over sand and slickrock. The stock trail route into Davis Gulch
does not present any problems. The route from the stock trail
to Bement Arch is quite brushy, and there are a number of
beaver ponds which must be waded through or circumvented.
Upstream from Bement Arch, the route is sandy, without dense
GENERAL INFORMMATION: When hiking from the Fiftymile
Point area, stay else to Fiftymile Creek for the first Vi mile,
then stay somewhat to the west of Davis Gulch and hike
parallel to it until you reach the stock trail area. Getting too
close to the rim of Davis Gulch results in much more up and
down walking over rolling slickrock, especially near the upper
end of the gulch. A small slot canyon tributary, difficult to
cross, will also be encountered about a mile north of the road -
if you are too close to the rim.
About 3.5 - 4 miles from the road, observe the small plateau
on the opposite side of Davis Gulch. A notch in the plateau's
side near the top is a landmark for finding the stock trail. (A
much larger notch can also be seen downstream in Davis
Gulch. This larger notch is about V* mile downstream of the
stock trail.) When you are directly opposite the first notch,
head toward the canyon rim to find a bowl-shaped depression.
The stock trail may not be readily apparent, but you can find it
if you explore around a bit.
From the bottom of the stock trail, the hike downstream to
Lake Powell or upstream to the pouroff is straightforward.
Please follow established trails where possible, and avoid
starting new ones, especially near the lower end of the gulch.
An alternate entrance into Davis Gulch is a challenging
scramble down through the narrows at the upper end. This
involves chimneying down past several chockstones and
pouroffs. Much of the route is very difficult. One long
slickrock chute ends in a dropoff into a pool and cannot be
climbed back up unless a rope is left in place. Other pools may
be deep enough to require swimming, or they may be dry,
depending on recent weather. If this route is taken, it is best
to continue on down the canyon and return by way of the
stock trail and across the bench.
MAPS: USGS Scorpion Gulch 7.5 minute quadrangle.
TRAILHEAD: From Boulder, Utah, follow the Burr Trail road
east 19 miles to the signed Petrified Wood Area access road.
Drive south on this road 20 miles to the Moody Creek road.
(You can also follow the Burr Trail road 33 miles east to the
Moody Creek road. Both roads eventually meet and continue
south into Moody Creek.) The road descends into the dry
wash of Main Moody Creek Canyon and follows it for about
About 3 miles east of Main Moody Creek Canyon, just west of
Purple Hills, is a fork. The right fork leads south into Middle
Moody Creek. The road is generally passable for four-wheel
drive vehicles with high clearance. (Road conditions vary and
are subject to the weather!) The road is passable for about 2
miles. Park at this point. (The last mile before the wash
crossing is in poor condition and is closed to vehicles anyway.)
HIKING DISTANCES: From the parking area to the Escalante
River (via Middle Moody Creek) - 6 miles (one way).
WATER AVAILABILITY: Water may sometimes be found in
Middle and East Moody Canyons, but it is best not to count on
it. A fairly dependable trickle of water flows intermittently in
the lower mile of East Moody Canyon.
HIKING CONDITIONS: The hike down Moody Creek is scenic
and moderately strenuous, without technical difficulties.
GENERAL INFORMATION: From your vehicle, follow the road
one mile to the wash, enter the wash, and proceed
downstream. Middle Moody Canyon is quite broad and open
and has many colorful Chinle formations topped by cliffs of
Windgate sandstone. Walking is easy, as it is throughout most
of this hike. The canyon gradually narrows; the Chinle
formation diminishes, and the Windgate cliffs become
dominant by the time you reach Main Moody Canyon.
Follow Main Moody Canyon downstream to the Escalante
River. You can retrace your steps, or you can make a loop
hike by walking down the Escalante River 1.5 miles to East
Moody Canyon. Ascend the canyon and take the north
branch. Continue up the north branch to the next fork. Take
the right fork, but instead of following the bottom of the
canyon, climb the ridge between the two canyons and follow
the remains of an old uranium exploration road. This is a
continuation of the road from the Purple Hills to Middle Moody
Canyon. It leads out of the north branch of East Moody
Canyon through a saddle and down into Middle Moody
Views from the saddle include extensive, richly-colored
exposures of the Chinle formation and an expansive view to
the north of the upper reaches of Middle Moody Canyon, the
Circle Cliffs, and Deer Point. Below the saddle on the north is
the remains of an old uranium exploration camp. Follow the
road down past the cabin and west along the south side of
upper Middle Moody Canyon. The road follows the south side
of this inner canyon until the canyon ends and can be crossed.
You can walk back up the road to your vehicle.
MAP: Silver Falls Bench 7.5 minute quadrangle.
TRAILHEADS: 1 . From Boulder, Utah, follow the Burr Trail
road east 19 miles to the signed Petrified Wood Area access
road. Drive south on this road 20 miles to the Moody Creek
road. At this junction, turn right, then drive 2.7 miles. At this
junction, turn right again onto the road which leads to upper
Silver Falls Creek. This road is in fair condition but becomes
progressively rougher as it nears the marked Glen Canyon NRA
boundary. The road is closed beyond the boundary to vehicle
2. Most of those who hike in Silver Falls Creek reach the
canyon by hiking down Harris Wash from its trailhead to the
Escalante River, then proceeding upriver about mile before
crossing the Escalante to enter Silver Falls Creek canyon.
HIKING DISTANCE: From the Glen Canyon NRA boundary to
the Escalante River - 5.3 miles (one way).
WATER AVAILABILITY: A small, intermittent, and alkaline
stream may be found in lower Silver Falls Creek, but it is not
generally usable. Emigrant Spring, 2.8 miles from the river at
the rear of a rincon, is reliable, but its water should be treated.
Other seeps may be encountered but are unreliable or of
HIKING CONDITIONS: Silver Falls Creek presents an easy hike
with no technical difficulties. The intermittent stream may be
encountered in the lower portion of the canyon, but wading
shoes are not required.
3 1604 014 676 839
GENERAL INFORMATION: Silver Falls Creek was named for
the colorful streaks of desert varnish which drape the canyon
walls. Silver Falls Creek, along with Harris Wash, was
traversed by the Halls Crossing wagon road which led from
Escalante to southeastern Utah. This road was used after the
Hole-in-the-Rock road was abandoned, but it is now closed to
vehicle traffic in the canyons. Watch for remnants of the old
road as you hike.
Upper Silver Falls Creek has three wide branches. The road to
the Glen Canyon NRA boundary follows the main branch. A
little over a mile downstream from the boundary, the North
Fork enters the main branch, and a mile up the North Fork from
this confluence, the Dry Fork branches off.
As you continue down the main fork of Silver Falls Creek, you
can see an interesting rincon on the north side of the canyon.
The Emigrant Spring rincon is 1.1 miles farther downstream on
the south side of the canyon.
From Emigrant Spring rincon downstream, the canyon narrows
as the soft Chinle rock formation gradually becomes less
exposed. The canyon does widen out somewhat again as it
nears the river.
Approximately 1.5 miles upstream from the Escalante River is
the George Hobbs inscription and memorial. During February,
1883, Hobbs was using this route to take supplies by horse
and mule to Bluff, Utah, when he was stranded by a
snowstorm. Believing that he would not survive, Hobbs
pecked his name into the rock wall. After five days, he was
able to resume his journey. Please do not add your own name,
initials, or graffiti to this historical landmark.
The canyons of the Escalante remain a special place - a bit of
magic in a world grown too real. The need for places such as
these, both for ourselves and for future generations, can
become only more critical. Only by our efforts can we ensure
that the wilderness left in the world is not diminished - or lost
As to when I shall visit civilization, it will not be soon... I prefer
the saddle to the streetcar... the obscure and difficult trail,
leading into the unknown, to any paved highway, and the deep
peace of the wild to the discontent bred by cities.
From his last letter to his brother, Waldo,
before disappearing into the canyons of the